FROM A RAMPAGE TO A STAMPEDE !
After years of working in Junior Hockey, both in the Western States Hockey League (WSHL) and the Central States Hockey League (CSHL), Tulsa Rampage owner, Julie Wilson, will be moving on to other interests. Yet in doing so, her heart remains with ensuring that her players still have the opportunity to develop and advance to higher levels in the future.
With that goal in mind, Wilson chose to transfer ownership of the team to an organization that will provide outstanding training and advancement opportunities for the players. The Cheyenne Stampede is owned by highly respected, longtime USA Hockey member, Mark Lantz, who has been involved in a variety of capacities including Junior hockey. "It was a difficult decision to move the team," Wilson says, "but having someone with the experience, knowledge, and heart for players that Mark has, made that choice an obviously good one."
Giving Wilson further reason to be pleased was Lantz's coaching selection. Jeff Heimel, Head Coach of the Phoenix Polar Bears, has taken the reigns for the Stampede. Heimel's recruiting and coaching lead the Polar Bears to an outstanding season including stellar performances at the WSHL Western Conference Finals. "Jeff Heimel is a great coach who will have a highly successful season on the ice but won't stop there," Wilson says "he continues to work in the off season to advance his players to higher levels. While that's what Junior Hockey team's are in business to do, it doesn't always happen as it should but with Jeff at the helm I feel very confident for the future of the players."
To add to the benefits, the local businesses including the rink are lending their support to the team in a variety of capacities from financial support to scheduling fun events for the players. "When an entire town gets behind a program, it makes for a far better experience for the players," Wilson says "Cheyenne is a nice place to begin with - right on the border of Colorado - and that level of involvement will generate a great atmosphere for the players."
The transfer of ownership will be bittersweet for the Tulsa area fans as the players make the move to Wyoming but Wilson is at peace with that tough change. "I had initially wanted to keep the team in Tulsa because the roster of players does transfer with the team," she said "but this opportunity is such a good one for them, it eases the pain of having the guys move away. While I'll definitely miss them, I'm very excited." The players begin with the Stampede in September.